These repatriations are a result of seven separate interdictions at sea in the south Florida Straits. These events consisted of Cubans attempting to illegally enter the United States on unseaworthy vessels commonly referred to as “rustics” or “chugs.” In these instances, the Coast Guard not only helped secure the U.S. border, but they also prevented these perilous sea voyages from ending in tragedy.
The Coast Guard Cutters Kathleen Moore, Marlin, along with numerous other Coast Guard patrol boats and aircraft, aggressively patrol the Florida Straits to detect and deter illegal and unsafe maritime migration. Safety of life at sea is always the Coast Guard’s top priority.
“U.S. immigration policies have not changed and we urge people not to take to the ocean in very unseaworthy vessels. It is illegal and extremely dangerous,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, the chief of response for the Coast Guard’s 7th District. “Once migrants are interdicted at sea, they will be returned to their country of origin.”
Once aboard a Coast Guard cutter, all migrants receive food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
In fiscal year 2015, 4,462 Cuban migrants attempted to illegally migrate to the U.S. via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.
For more information on how to legally immigrate to the U.S., call U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283 or visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.